It’s crunch time! Memorial Day weekend kicks off Friday evening, bringing a flurry of activity to the Hamptons. With an influx and visitors and so much on the agenda, there won’t be time to do much else until after Labor Day. Each day this week DansPapers.com rounds up 10 activities to find time for before the Hamptons season officially begins.
Visit East End Breweries
The East End of Long Island, especially the North Fork, is replete with wineries. Everywhere you go, there are rows of grapes and dusty alcohol in cellars. If you’ve finally had enough of the same old grapes the same old ways, head over to one of the local breweries—before they’re overrun!
Long Ireland Beer Company on Pulaski Street in Riverhead runs tasting room hours from Thursday to Sunday, but you can find their beer all over the island. Most brewhouses and beverage distributors from Patchogue to Montauk can provide you with Long Ireland ales. To find the closest distributor to you, go to longirelandbrewing.com and, if you want a suggestion, try the delicious Breakfast Stout.
Montauk Brewing Company and its long list of beers can be found on Erie Avenue, just north of the traffic circle in downtown Montauk. With the flagship Driftwood Ale and six seasonal drafts, the tasting room is a must-see. Take a walk through the park—or up to the skatepark—when you’re finished with you drinks. Hours and info online at montaukbrewingco.com
Since 2008, Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. has been dominating the local “beer sphere.” And for good reason; Greenport Harbor makes some great brew! Visit Front Street in Greenport for the tasting room and to see where the magic happens. Always commended for attention to detail, inventiveness and outside-the-box brewing, and foremost, their humor, the guys at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. get another gold star from us! Hours and info online at harborbrewing.com
Also coming from Riverhead, Crooked Ladder Brewing Company is one of the newest breweries here on Long Island, but don’t be fooled, because head brewer Duffy Griffiths has been brewing for over 20 years now. And now, in a shiny new facility, he’s showing Long Island what he knows. And that’s a lot. Crooked Ladder sets itself apart by producing harder-to-come-by varieties like Pilsner and Kölsch, and by being unafraid to make a good pun. Check the website at crookedladderbrewing.com.
Finally, for the home-brewers-at-heart, comes Moustache Brewing Co., again from Riverhead. With a constantly-changing catalog of beers to provide, Moustache has hours from 1 to 6 p.m. on the weekends on Hallett Avenue near the cemetery. With an interesting Growler of the Month membership campaign and some unique merchandise to boot, Moustache Brewing Co. is quickly making a name for itself here on the East End. Hours and info online at moustachebrewing.com
And don’t overlook the oldest brewery on the East End, Southampton Publick House, which is also a restaurant. Enjoy a tasting flight or just order a draft of your standby beer, such as Double White or Montauk Light. And now’s the time to catch Biere De Mars on tap before it’s gone till next year. Visit publick.com for info.
Golf at Montauk Downs
The East End has some of the world’s finest golf courses, but 90 percent of us won’t ever play 90 percent of them. Montauk Downs, however, is 18 holes of public goodness that anyone with a few dollars and a set of clubs can enjoy. Of course the thing that makes it great also becomes a problem once the crowds come and everyone from Manhattan to Montauk wants to play there. Come Memorial Day weekend, it’s nearly impossible to play the course without a lot of waiting and possible interruptions as others attempt to play through on the tee or green.
Named among Links magazine’s “Top 10 Best Municipal Course in U.S.” in 2013, Montauk Downs was first developed in 1927 and was redesigned by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1968, with help from his son, the world famous course designer Rees Jones, and then bought by the State Parks in 1980. And Golfers beware, this is not a novice course! The winds from both the ocean and bay change daily, so it never plays exactly the same way.
Montauk Downs is open year round, sunrise to sunset, but before making a reservation, golfers must register in the golf reservation system by faxing a copy of their driver’s license to 631-668-7893. Once registered, golfers can call the golf reservation line at 631-668-1234, using their driver’s license number as their access code. For additional information and tee-off hours, call 631-668-5000 or visit Montauk Downs at the New York State Parks website here.
Book a Sea Jitney
There’s a new way to get between Manhattan and the East End. The Sea Jitney is a high-speed ferry that leaves New York for the Port Jefferson ferry terminal. There, buses await to take passengers on the last leg of their journey, to Calverton, Southampton, Sag Harbor or East Hampton.
From Manhattan, the Sea Jitney takes about two hours to travel to Port Jefferson. Then the Hampton Jitney takes about one hour to the Hamptons.
One-way fares range anywhere from $33 to $50. The Sea Jitney’s services will be available weekends starting May 22 and ending September 9, excluding July 4. Reservations are required. Visit reservations.hamptonjitney.com/seajitney/ or call 631-283-4600.
Shop at a Local Farmers Market
The East End has an abundance of farmers markets to choose from between Memorial Day and Labor Day. While the scene is quieter in the pre-season, there are still several top-notch markets up-and-running for locavores to check out.
Get a taste of the Hamptons and North Fork spring bounty, with produce such as radishes, turnips, salad greens and more for sale from local growers. Eggs, meat and wine are also available. It doesn’t get any more “shop local” and “eat local” than this!
For the 2015 East End farmers markets schedule, check in with Hamptons Epicure.
Photograph the East End
Everyone, from locals to vacationers and part-time residents, is busy during this week preparing for Memorial Day weekend–the official Hamptons kickoff to summer–and all that follows. But it would be worth everyone’s while to take some precious free time and document our beautiful beaches, towns and the East End’s natural splendor before it becomes even more difficult to find the time, let alone a place without 10 other people in the way.
The Hamptons and North Fork are rife with wonderful vistas, historic buildings and brilliant architecture, and our skies are incredible at sunset, so there’s plenty to photograph. And these days, nearly everyone has a camera handy, even if it’s just a smartphone, which take pretty great shots, especially when the subject matter is so perfect!
For those who want to share their pictures, try posting them on Instagram, and make sure to add the #danspapers hashtag for a chance to be included in our Best of #Hamptons Instagram posts.
Fluke season just started on May 17, so there are still plenty of doormats roaming the waters waiting to be caught. With no summer tourists, the odds of catching dinner are more in your favor.
And if fluke isn’t your fancy, drop lines in for bluefish, striped bass, blackfish, porgy or cod—all of which are swimming the bays.
If you own a boat, head out and spend a day on the water with some friends and reel in some dinner. For those who don’t, there are many charters available to fish the hotspots before the Memorial Day rush. Here are a few suggestions:
Hampton Bays: Captain Jim Foley’s Hampton Lady sails full day, every day from 7 a.m.–3 p.m. for fluke and sea bass. Call 631-521-3366 for reservations and info. (thehamptonlady.com)
Montauk: With a fleet of over 20 boats, Montauk Fishing Charters has the boat and trip to fit your needs. Both full and half-day trips are available, both inshore and offshore, afternoon and morning. Call 631-668-1635 for reservations and info. (montaukfishingcharters.com)
Orient Point: Captain Jim Montalbano of the Monty Man II will get you and your group out on the water day or night, full or half day for angling fun. Call him at 631-363-2020 to schedule your outing. (montymanfishing.com)
Dozens of charters are available locally, so surf the web to find the one that’s best for you. Tight lines!
Stand-Up Paddleboard—and Yoga!
Stand-up paddleboarding (aka SUP) is an exciting new sport sweeping the nation’s coastlines.
If you don’t know what a stand-up paddleboard is, don’t fret! Basically, the rider stands up on a surfboard-like board—paddle in hand—elegantly paddling along the water. In brief, it is a hybrid between surfing and kayaking. After mastering the basics, riders can race one another, attempt different tricks or just glide along the waves enjoying the warm, ocean breeze.
If you want to add some flair to your stand-up paddleboarding experience, change the way you relax and try out an emerging trend by taking a SUP yoga class. Simply enough, once out on the water, riders will do various yoga poses on the board. Imagine this relaxing and challenging experience set to the backdrop of the sunny East End.
Whether taking a class or just renting a board with the family, a stand-up paddleboard should be under your feet before the Memorial Day crowds make our calm waters a little more choppy.
For info on where to rent (or buy) a stand-up paddleboard, visit Flying Point Surf & Sport (flyingpointsurf.com) in Southampton, Main Beach Surf + Sport (mainbeach.com) in East Hampton, Peconic Paddler (peconicpaddler.com) in Riverhead or any other local watersports shop.
Also, before you head out, make sure you check the water and weather conditions. Surfline.com offers accurate forecasts and tides for the area. Have fun and stay safe!
Visit a Local Bookstore
Now is the time to find your summer books, because once the season hits we’ll want to be reading on the beach, not shopping in town.
With tablets and e-readers, it’s becoming easier and easier to have any book you want, whenever you want it. This makes it possible to forget the joyous experience of entering a bookstore and getting lost in the thousands of tomes lining the walls as you look for an interesting read, but that pleasure is something that really can’t be replicated online.
On the East End there are several local bookstores to satisfy your literary desires. Whether you need to buy a summer reading book for school, a new cookbook for that Fourth of July barbecue or a great Hamptons beach read, our bookstores provide a browsing experience you can’t get with online retailers.
Some choice bookstores scattered around the East End include Books & Books in Westhampton Beach (booksandbooks.com), Canio’s in Sag Harbor (caniosbooks.com), Black Cat Books on Shelter Island (blackcatbooks.com), Harbor Books in Sag Harbor harborbookssgh.com), and BookHampton in East Hampton and Southampton (bookhampton.com). They carry new fiction and nonfiction, children’s books, reference books, and young-adult fiction, among other genres. Most also have book readings throughout the summer and, because of our location, have attracted big names such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Hillary Clinton.
Get Some Ice Cream/Froyo
Let’s face it, the moment offices and schools end their days on Friday, our streets will be flooded with sunglass-wearing vacationers heading into every place of business the East End has to offer. That means you only have two days left to enjoy not having to wait for a waffle cone with sprinkles!
A good ice cream cone should always accompany a hot day, and we are lucky enough to have an abundance of ice cream shops to feed the need. The Memorial Day crowds will soon force long waits and shortages across the East End, so head into your local ice cream shop and stock up today!
You may be reading this saying, “Well, maybe I only eat frozen yogurt…” If that’s the case, by all means—stock up on that as well. According to Mintell Market Research, frozen yogurt sales in the US grew 74 percent in 2013. This leads the highly qualified market researchers here at DansPapers.com to the conclusion that East End frozen yogurt sales will double during Memorial Day weekend alone! So, frozen yogurt enthusiasts, don’t think you are in the clear. Start buying those pints and quarts to get you through the summer!
As we stand on the precipice of a long East End summer, with so many exciting events and activities ahead—not to mention a lot of hard work (for many)—it’s time to take a deep breath and prepare for what’s to come.
Sit back, relax, end enjoy a quiet moment today. Do something just for you and find that oft-mentioned “happy place.” When summer gets rolling and the madness begins taking its toll, reflect back on this peaceful reprieve, no matter how brief. Let it be your center, a stress reliever in the ever-widening seasonal gyre we call home.
We recommend relaxing on a quiet beach or nature trail, but do whatever makes you happy—even if that means holing up in the house and watching television, playing video games or sleeping with abandon. This is your moment. Take it and do what you will, because come Saturday (lines, traffic, attitudes and all), your time may no longer be your own.